How to disable real-time protection on Microsoft Defender Antivirus

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How to disable real-time protection on Microsoft Defender Antivirus

Windows Defender Antivirus, a free and reliable anti-malware feature built into Windows 10, protects your device and data from viruses, ransomware, spyware, malicious software, and hackers. While it usually provides sufficient protection for most users, there may be times when disabling antivirus completely or temporarily may be necessary.

When uncertain of a solution, disabling features on your device might be necessary. Perhaps setting up a kiosk computer that does not connect to the network requires disabling features, or following your organization’s security policies may require conforming.

One caveat, however: Windows 10 does not include an option to uninstall or “permanently” disable Windows Defender Antivirus unless you install third-party antivirus software. You can temporarily disable this built-in security feature using Group Policy, Registry settings, or the Windows Security app.

This Windows 10 tutorial covers the steps to permanently (or temporarily) disable Windows Defender Antivirus on your device.

How to disable Windows Defender Antivirus using Windows Security

Before disabling Windows Defender Antivirus for a specific task, remember that you don’t have to permanently turn it off; turn it off temporarily.

Steps to disable Windows Defender Antivirus

To temporarily disable the default antivirus on Windows 10, complete these six steps:

  • 1- Open the Start menu.
  • 2- Search for Windows Security and click on the first result to open the application.
  • 3- Click on Virus & threat protection.
  • 4- Under the “Virus & threat protection” settings section, click on the “Manage settings” option.

How to disable real-time protection on Microsoft Defender Antivirus

  • 5- Disable Windows Defender by turning off the “Real-time protection” toggle.

How to disable real-time protection on Microsoft Defender Antivirus

Once you complete the steps, your antivirus will disable the real-time protection, allowing you to install apps or make a certain system change that you couldn’t before because the security feature prevented the action.

To enable real-time protection again, restart your computer, or use the instructions above, but in step 5, make sure that the “Real time protection” toggle is turned on.

Of course, this is not a permanent solution, but it is best to disable Windows 10 antivirus software to perform a specific task.

How to disable Windows Defender using Group Policy

If your device runs Windows 10 Pro, you can use the Local Group Policy Editor to permanently disable Windows Defender Antivirus. However, disable tamper protection before turning off your antivirus software; otherwise, it will be turned back on automatically during restart.

  • Repeat the previous steps (the 6 steps to disable Windows Defender Antivirus)

Once all steps have been completed, you can permanently disable Windows Defender Antivirus using Group Policy.

Disable Windows Defender Antivirus

  • 2. Search for gpedit.msc and click on the top result to open the Local Group Policy Editor.
  • 3. Browse to the following path:

Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Defender Antivirus


  • 4. Double-click and Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus.

How to disable real-time protection on Microsoft Defender Antivirus

  • 5. Select the option Enabled to disable Windows Defender Antivirus.

How to disable real-time protection on Microsoft Defender Antivirus

  • 6. Click the Apply button.
  • 7. Click the OK button.
  • 8. Restart your computer.

Once you complete all the required steps, your Windows 10 antivirus will be permanently disabled on your PC. However, you may notice a shield icon in the taskbar; this is normal behavior since it belongs to the Windows Security app rather than the antivirus itself.

If you need to undo your changes, Windows Defender Antivirus can always be re-enabled using the instructions above (step 5). Just ensure the Not Configured option is selected and then restart your computer for the changes to take effect. Remember to reenable Tamper Protection using the same steps above (but ensure the toggle is enabled in step #5).

How to permanently disable Windows Defender Antivirus on Windows 10

How to disable Windows Defender Antivirus using Registry

Suppose you don’t have access to the Local Group Policy Editor or are running Windows 10 Home. In that case, however, you can still modify the Registry to permanently disable Windows Defender Antivirus.

Disable Tamper Protection

To disable Tamper Protection on Windows 10 before disabling Windows Defender, follow these steps:

Repeat the previous steps (the 6 steps to disable Windows Defender Antivirus) until complete.

Once all steps have been completed, built-in disabling protection will no longer activate automatically when restarting your computer.

Windows 10 includes a “TamperProtection” registry key (located in this path):

Disable Windows Defender Antivirus

  • 3. Browse to the following path:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Policies \ Microsoft \ Windows Defender

A quick tip: You can now copy and paste the path into the record’s address bar to quickly navigate to the main destination.

  • 4. Right-click the Windows Defender file, select New, and click 32-bit DWORD value.

How to disable real-time protection on Microsoft Defender Antivirus

  • 5. Name the key DisableAntiSpyware and press Enter.
  • 6. Double-click the newly created DWORD and change the value from 0 to 1.

How to disable real-time protection on Microsoft Defender Antivirus

  • 7. Click the OK button.
  • 8. Restart your device.

Once all steps have been completed, Windows Defender Antivirus will no longer protect your system from malware.

If you wish to undo your changes, follow the instructions above, but in step #6, right-click on the DisableAntiSpyware key and select Delete from the menu.

Recommendation: While various methods are available to disable Windows Defender Antivirus on Windows 10, we strongly advise against doing so as a computer without antimalware software can become vulnerable. FreeActivationKeys

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